NBCUniversal Breaks Longtime Movie-Theater Window, Offers Same Day-Date Digital Rentals

In response to a number of movie-theater closings, NBCUniversal is making an unprecedented movie offer: New theatrical movies via digital platforms on the same day/date as their theatrical release.

The first movie NBCU distributes will be DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour,” scheduled to debut on April 10 in the U.S. for $19.99, available for a 48-hour rental period. International rentals will carry a higher price.

“Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable,” states Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal.

For a long time, movie theaters have resisted attempts by studios to release movies at or close to the opening of theatrical movies on home-entertainment platforms. Movie studios increasingly have wanted to improve revenue of their new movies to combat growing entertainment competition.



Traditional “windowing” of movies has given movies theaters a three-month exclusive period to show films -- before individual rental of movies is allowed, either delivered digitally or physical rentals.

During the heightened concern over coronavirus, some movie chains have closed down -- while others have limited seating, offering more room between moviegoers.

This past weekend, the U.S. movie industry posted the lowest collective box-office results in two decades.

Previously, in response to virus concerns, a number of studios have pushed back the movie premieres to later in the year, including Disney’s “Mulan,” MGM/UA’s  “No Time to Die” (Universal has the international rights) and Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9.”

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